Viral marketing is something which has started to become commonplace for big name movies before they are released. It has been used on many well-known movies, such as Prometheus, The Dark Knight and District 9 amongst others. However, it was first used in its infancy by The Blair Witch Project in 1999, using images of the cast before the events of the film to create a sort of missing person style back story for the characters on their website. Since then, viral marketing has grown into something even bigger and become more integral to the major successes of the film.
District 9 used a selection of guerrilla style adverts related to the film which linked to this website which used the plot of the film to create a constructed reality that even features a section for the aliens themselves.
The 2012 film Prometheus was one that made the best use of creating a back story. A huge world was created around the fictional Weyland Industries, with the film’s website telling you the history of the company as well as letting you know more about the ‘Prometheus Project’.
The film also utilised viral videos, going to great lengths to produce this fictional TED talk from 2023 by Peter Weyland:
However, perhaps the most interesting part of the viral campaign in my opinion was the back story that was created for the android David. The below video and website tell you more about how he was created and what he can do as a sort of fictional promotional piece for perspective buyers. The video itself is both funny and slightly chilling in some parts.
The videos for the Prometheus campaign were devised by Ridley Scott and directed by Luke Scott and Johnny Hardstaff whilst London based design company Substance was in charge of the online and social media side of things.
Tomorrow’s post will continue to look at this topic and how The Dark Knight and it’s sequel The Dark Knight Rises have pushed the envelope in terms of what viral marketing for cinema actually is.